Bible Journaling & Creative Expressions of Faith

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Hi Everyone,

In 2014 an Australian fan wrote to let me know she had shared my lettering videos with her Bible Journaling group. I wrote back to thank her for sharing my videos, and to ask about Bible Journaling, as it was a term I had never heard before. She introduced me to a community of people who, like me, use their creative talents as a means of expressing their faith– kindred spirits! I have spent much of my life writing prayers and lettering scripture– which I do in sketchbooks and journals– and was fascinated to discover that there were people lettering and illustrating God’s word in their Bibles! Bible journaling art resonates with me on a core level, because it is so similar to what I do; I just do my work on paper, not physically in a Bible. Here is a photo of some of the prayer journals I’ve kept in the past couple of years.


Because faith is such a big part of my life, the idea of writing a book about expressing faith in a creative way really appeals to me. I want to share my excitement about the Bible Journaling movement by teaching basic illustration, lettering, coloring, and layout techniques, and I also want to showcase some of the fabulous Bible journaling art I’ve discovered. Given that I am not comfortable writing in a book, much less in a Bible, I asked my friend, Bible journaling artist Regina Yoder, to co-author the book.

And (drum-roll please!) you are the first to know that our book, tentatively titled Bible Journaling: How to Express Your Faith Creatively, will be published by Fox Chapel in March! In addition to the technique sections, the 112 page, 8 1/2 x 11, full-color book will feature profiles of some of the world’s leading Bible journalists. Regina and I are also planning a gallery of inspiring faith-based art, and encourage everyone in the Zenspirations® community who is interested, to submit photos of your Bible journaling and/or faith-based art for possible inclusion in the gallery section of our book. If you are like me, and prefer not to write in a Bible, you are welcome to submit faith-based art done in your journal or sketchbook. Existing art is fine, and/or you can create something special for the book.

One part of the gallery section will showcase different artists’ interpretation of the same scripture. While you can submit any scripture, we are specifically looking for versions of these four verses:

  1. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Proverbs 3:5
  2. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
  3. Be still and know that I am GodPsalm 46:10
  4. Hope is an anchor for the soul. Hebrews 6:9

If you are interested in submitting your work, here is what you need to do:

1. Post your creations by end of day Wednesday, August 31st.

2. VERY IMPORTANT: INCLUDE YOUR CONTACT INFO!!! Make sure that your name, e-dress and phone number can clearly be seen on each design you submit. 

3. Please do not submit more than 10 images.

4. Post your work in the appropriate album in the Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern, Play Facebook Group. You can get to the albums by clicking the Photos button underneath the create banner.

5. If your art is selected, you’ll need to send the publisher a high-res scan or photo (300 dpi) or the original art so they can photograph it for you, and you’ll need to sign a Permission-to-Publish form.

6. Artists whose work is selected will be given credit in the book, and will receive two free copies of the book when it is published.

7. Submitting images is not a guarantee that they will be selected for inclusion in the book.
For those of you who may be new to Bible journaling, I thought a couple of visuals might help. Regina did the piece below with one of my new Inspired Journaling stencils for The Crafters Workshop. She created the design on a separate piece of paper, and plans to use washi tape to adhere it to her Bible.


There are fifteen stencils in the line, and I can’t wait to get my samples– and to see what everyone creates with them. I’m expecting the stencils to arrive sometime this week, so if you pre-ordered stencils from the Zenspirations shop you should receive them sometime next week.

Regina created the tree design below by tracing the tree from one of my books into her journaling Bible, and coloring it with the Koi® Coloring Brush pens. She used my Be still and know that I am God rubber stamp from Impression Obsession to do the scripture verse


For those of you who would like to try do the tree design, either in your journaling Bible, or on a separate piece of paper, click here to download a pdf of the design Regina used. It’s from my Expressions of Faith book.


I have been creating faith-based art most of my life, and wanted to share some of my early scripture pieces. Both of these were done more than thirty years ago, on paper I made myself. This first one, which I did in 1985, hangs in the entry way to my house. The lettering was gilded with gold leaf on a gum ammoniac base.


The version below, which I did in 1986, is 11 x 14, approximately twice as large as the piece above. It was lettered with gouache using an 06 Rexel nib.


I look forward to seeing how you express your faith!

Before closing tonight, I wanted to let you know how incredibly moved I was by the poignant comments left on my last blog post, The Journey from Grief to Gratitude. Although I’ve never annotated one of my blog posts before, I wanted to respond to the many people who are struggling, so I added two sections to the blog. One has suggestions on how you can support someone who is grieving, and the other section is a list of grief support organizations. Please share the information with anyone you know who is on– or walking alongside someone on– a challenging grief journey.


I asked my intern Nathaniel to do his random number generating magic to pick the five winners who will each receive a copy of When You Lose Someone You Love. These are the names he drew:

Deb Treat, Sandy McClay, Heidi, Lee Cheek and Lorinda Byelich!

 Congratulations ladies; please email your snail mail address to me ([email protected]) so I can send you a copy of the book.
Stay Zenspired,

15 thoughts on “Bible Journaling & Creative Expressions of Faith”

  1. Hi Joanne! I am so excited about your new book; I know it will be so loved and enjoyed by many!! I can’t wait to see what everyone is doing in their own bible journaling! I just know we are going to be seeing some outstanding art in the next couple weeks. One of the things I love about our FB group, is that I am constantly inspired to do more and do better!

    Thank you for making all of that possible my friend!
    Love and blessings,
    Mary Anne

    1. I am so proud of Gina!! She is an amazing Godly woman. I am so excited to see the finished product!

  2. Hello Joanne, I have been part of a Bible journaling Facebook group in the UK for quite a while.some do it in a journal like you others in special bibles others on paper. God made us to be creative. It was through this group and my love of zentangles that led me to your group on facebook. I love the zenspirations bring the two together. God bless you Jonne in your new venture. Jane xx

  3. I too am so excited for your new book. I so love your work and can”t wait to do this in my bible. God Bless

  4. Thank you for the beautiful coloring page! I can hardly wait to see your latest book…how exciting!

  5. I am happy to see this today! I just got my new journaling Bible yesterday. Very timely! I am anxious to take a look at your book for Bible journaling! Thank you.

  6. How fantastic that you are collaborating and putting out a faith based book. I’m very excited for this new book and I’m sure I will be waiting next to hundreds of others, hopefully thousands, that are patiently anticipating the books release.
    I’m also very excited about yet another opportunity to have something published in one of your books. That just warms my heart each time you do that. Thank you Joanne.
    Big Hugs!!

  7. Hi Joanne!
    I have been Bible journaling for a while now and I love how it draws me, (pun intended), into the Word more than just reading it. It’s like a love letter back to God. Thanks for sharing and the opportunities and inspiration you give.


    1. Hi Delinda, I understand your hesitation to write, paint etc in your Bible. My personal thoughts, when I pick up my Bible I find I have notes I wrote when studying that help me understand things.

      1. Oops I hit the wrong key. In Bible journaling it helps me spend more time in God’s word and I am using the talent I was given to express my feelings at a given time. I feel this brings me closer, I do not feel I am defacing God’s word. You might start by doing something in the front or back of the book and not in the chapters.. The publishers are printing Bibles with wide margins mde for journaling. Joanne’s stamps and sayings are a great place to start.

        Mary Ann Fields

  8. I will gladly color my interpretation of the picture from Expressions of Faith and submit. I feel I shouldn’t Journal in my Bible because it’s God’s Word. Perhaps someone can explain why they feel free to do this.

    I love your early pieces and your Journaling!

    All my love and respect, Dee

  9. Hi Joanne!
    I have been doing prophetic painting/lettering for about two years now. Usually at home, but also sometimes during our church service. I love your lettering and how it flows with the Word of God. I love that you are so giving with your art and your talents to guide the rest of us to a new level!

    Love in Christ

  10. Hi Joanne
    Thank you for sharing your story. I loss my first child it was terrible. Three years later i was so tired of crying. And I started again. Thanks God that used gospel music for this process of healing. Amen.

  11. OOOoooooo…. This news is SO EXCITING!!! I will be eagerly anticipating your project! Looks like you have chosen a wonderful co-author!! Woo Hoo!!

  12. Good morning Joanne, I started Bible journaling in Feb. of this this year and enjoy it very much.I also use my journal to study my Sunday school lesson. You can find Bible journaling ideas on line and in pinterest. I enjoy your e-mails and Lettering class very much ! thank you Dannie

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